Both beauty and brains shine bright

Christine, Managing Editor

Camille Schrier of Virginia was crowned Miss America in the pageants 93rd year on December 19, 2019. The pageant has notoriously been subject to criticism, as critics say that such contests reinforce the idea that women should be valued primarily for their physical appearances.  


“Pageants can send a bad message. Talent wasn’t emphasized in pageants before—it was pretty much only a matter of how well you could prepare your answers for the judges,” said senior Amanda A.  


The Miss America Pageant is trying to change its message and the opinions of critics 


The pageant has been adapting to make itself appeal to a diverse demographic. Changes include the cancellation of the swimsuit and evening gown competition portions and an emphasis on talent demonstrations, interview responses, and positive contributions to society.  


“Girls don’t want to be judged on their bodies. Eliminating [the swimsuit and evening gown portions] and focusing on the interviews allows judges and the world to learn more about their minds and personalities,” said junior Jessica P.  


Camille Schrier decided to compete in the pageant only after it was revealed that the swimsuit portion would be cancelled. She remained passionate about eating disorders, body issues, and mental health throughout her winning campaign.  


“It’s a new day and age in which you don’t need to look ‘pretty’ to be considered beautiful. [By dropping the swimsuit portion, the pageant] focusing on how you don’t need to have a perfect body to be considered beautiful,” said Amanda A.  


A defining aspect of Schrier’s win was her unconventional talent of performing a science experiment on stage.  


[Schrier’s talent is] really interesting because it’s never really been a talent that people do. Most people just sing or dance. It’s different and it’s cool to see how the pageant is changing and how people’s careers are being brought into the pageant world,” said Jessica P.  


In addition to showcasing the talents of women and spreading awareness about global issues, the pageant also aims to create additional opportunities for the women competing. 


“The girls competing also receive scholarships and it’s a way for them to pay for college or other endeavors,” said art teacher Marie Adamo. 


As the winner, Schrier won a $50,000 scholarship and an opportunity to travel the country to promote a social impact initiative and act as a role model to young girls 


“Hopefully young girls will realize that you need more than just looks—you also need substance,” said Adamo. 


With the changes being made to the Miss America pageant, people hope that this shift from a focus on beauty to a focus on talent will create a positive message to younger generations. 


“Modernizing pageants gives young girls good role models to look up to. Girls shouldn’t be looking up to people who are just pretty—they should also be looking up to people who have talents, passions, and care about the world,” said Amanda A. 🔳